People have described Michaela as, "Authentically kind, intentional and capable of creating a safe space for counselling."
BA in Psychology from University of Alberta, MSc in Counselling Psychology from University of Calgary
Provisional Psychologist designation through the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP)
Practica and Internships completed at: Boyle Street Education Centre (2011-2012), University of Calgary Student Success Centre (2016), Psychiatric Adult Service (AHS, 2016-2017)
7 years of experience in mental health and addiction in both inpatient and outpatient settings
Trained and practiced in providing in Person-centred Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, Prolonged Exposure Therapy, and practiced in facilitating Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and mindfulness skills
My Counselling Journey:
Welcome and thanks for taking a moment to read about me! My counselling journey started when I was a kid. I was drawn to understanding human minds, and to using that knowledge to help others. In university I studied psychology and then focused on counselling in my Master’s degree. I also completed an undergraduate internship and two Master’s level practica. I took part in academic and mental health assessment for at-risk youth, academic support of university students, and psychotherapy for adults with mental health disorders. These experiences reinforced my conviction to be a counsellor! Since 2017 I have been working as an Addiction Counsellor in an outpatient clinic. I help people make changes in their use of substances and/or addictive behaviours, both fully stopping use and moderation. I also provide counselling for concurrent mental health concerns, and support loved ones of those with addiction concerns. I have previous experience as a support worker in inpatient hospital settings, individual home support, and hotline crisis counselling. In those positions I often provided supportive counselling, helped problem solve day to day tasks, and did risk assessments, ensuring safety.
When I’m not working, I can be found hanging out with my hubby and two cats, dancing for fun, rock climbing, doing experimental cooking, doodling, and catching up on anime or fantasy shows. I like to think that artistic aspects of my hobbies inform how I approach counselling. Let’s get creative!
As a counsellor, I balance person-centred and goal-oriented therapy. That means that you are in the driver's seat of therapy and I am your navigator. You choose the destination and I help you get there, with your goals as our map.
I incorporate aspects of CBT, DBT and mindfulness, strengths-based counselling, and motivational interviewing. I also teach grounding skills and utilize Prolonged Exposure Therapy for trauma and anxiety.
Some of my Specialties:
Facing anxiety, trauma and post-traumatic stress, making changes in substance use and addiction, building boundaries and communication, understanding emotions, getting to the root of depression, emotion regulation, mindfulness skills, achieving work life balance, self-care strategies, insomnia management, and processing life transitions, grief, loss, and existential concerns.
I believe that we need to acknowledge and honour our inner thoughts, feelings, and experiences so that we can grow towards our goals, dreams, and desires. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy tells us that we may need to seek balance, shifting between accepting where we are at and moving toward our goals.
How can we create balance for you?
Comment on Diversity and Inclusion:
Diversity and culture is important to me. For my Master’s thesis I completed a qualitative research study which looked at client experiences of culture in their counselling relationships. My participants expressed that they sometimes felt unheard about cultural aspects of their lives, because perhaps their counsellor differed or in some way signaled that these aspects are not important in counselling. They also indicated that it was helpful when their counsellor openly included culture in the conversation!
Our intersections of diversity, which include age, geography, sexual and gender diversity, ethnicity, physical and cognitive abilities, size, learning, neurodivergence, and even subcultures, impact how we view and interact in our world and our lives. I strive to be inclusive of all aspects of diversity in counselling.
You can expect that I am comfortable to speak about culture and diversity, that you can do the same to whatever degree you are comfortable, and to correct me if I make a mistake.